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How do I Become a Marine?

By Ken Black
Updated Jan 24, 2024
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The decision to become a United States Marine may not be the most difficult decision a person will make in his or her life, but the process is very hard indeed. The requirements and procedures needed to become a Marine are very demanding. However, for those with the personal strength and fortitude to endure, they will become members of the few, the proud.

The first step involved in becoming a Marine is simply making the choice to do so. The Marine Corps represents an honorable ideal - to defend the United States from all enemies, both foreign and domestic, but it may not be for everyone. Some may find that there are other branches of service that suit them better. Others may conclude that military service is simply not the life for them.

After the decision has been made, the next step is to contact a recruiter. In order to become a Marine, you must work through a recruiter. This is the person that will explain the basics of the Marine Corps to you, advise you on what to expect, and set you up on an enlistment schedule. If you do not know where to find one, there is an online form that can be filled out on the Marine Corps' website.

At some point during this process, new recruits will likely be asked to complete the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. This test will help direct the recruit to a career choice in which he or she will have the best chance for success. While all recruits will be taught the basics of combat and rifle handling, each will also be given a military occupation specialty.

Before actually enlisting in boot camp to become a Marine, it is important to try to be in the best physical shape possible. Those who do not take this advice to heart will find basic training a nearly impossible proposition. The requirements for a perfect score on the physical fitness portion of the Marine test are 20 pull-ups in 30 seconds, 100 crunches in 120 seconds, and a three-mile run in 18 minutes. While it is not necessary to meet these benchmarks before enlisting, getting as close as possible will make boot camp a much more bearable experience.

By far, the most difficult part of the process implemented to become a Marine is the boot camp. All new recruits must go through this 13-week program, which is often longer and tougher than in any other branch of service. Those who need additional physical conditioning will be part of a special platoon. Once completed, the recruit can say he or she has finally become a Marine.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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